Travel Weekly's Gay Nagle Myers is in St. Lucia, touring the island following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Tomas in late October. Her second dispatch follows.
I drove on the battered west coast road on St. Lucia on Tuesday, beginning at the luxurious Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet resorts in the south to the Spanish-style Cap Maison resort in the north.
Heavy frontloaders and bulldozers were much in evidence as work continued on clearing the massive landslides from Hurricane Tomas five weeks ago. Traffic slowed and stopped often. I stopped too at many spots to visit resorts and attractions, most of which had recovered well from the storm’s effects.
St. Lucia, wedged between St. Vincent to the north and Martinique to the southeast, is 27 miles long but the main west coast road that parallels the Caribbean Sea and runs north to south is full of hairpin turns and curves as it follows the mountainous terrain of the island.
Dramamine is recommended for those prone to motion sickness. I’m not, fortunately.
The east coast road, which runs parallel to the Atlantic, is less curvy and twisty and had no damage from the storm.
My driver, Edmund Ernest, said his four-wheel drive car was a workhorse in the days following the storm.
But here’s the bottom line: Other than the road cleanup and repair that will take a while, St. Lucia is rolling again and on target for a boom winter season.
Ladera Resort and Coconut Bay Resort are reopening Dec. 15 with most of their rooms back in operation. Jalousie’s reopening date is a bit more uncertain. That resort is at the base of the Pitons, smack in the middle with views of both peaks.
An alternate entrance to the drive-in volcano now is in service (the main entrance road is blocked by debris). However, if the smell of steaming sulphur is a turn-off, avoid this place.
I stopped at Fond Deux, the only working cocoa plantation on St. Lucia, where there’s a small 14-cottage resort — a quirky, authentic Caribbean place. Owners Eroline and Lyton Lamontagne are working hard to spread the word, but it already has a fan club of repeat guests.
At lunch I dined on sous kaye, a traditional St. Lucian dish of fish and spices in a broth. Darn good, and so was the Piton beer that went with it.
My long day ended at Bay Gardens Beach Resort in the north, run by the legendary Bertha Parle, past president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. She was hosting a fam trip of 45 agents who had been on the move all day, as I had been.
We compared notes. St. Lucia got a thumbs-up from all of us.
Click here to read Gay's first dispatch.